We caught up with Caroline Roberts, the founder of Grafik magazine, to talk about her forthcoming book, Graphic Design Visionaries, which is published by Laurence King in August. It’s a 312 page tome, featuring 75 of the world’s greatest Graphic Designers, those of whom shaped the world of visual communication, starting with Piet Zwart in the 1880’s and ending with M/M Paris est. 1992. We managed to get some juicy details about this fabulous, educational and informative book that is a must-have on everyone’s bookshelf.
Caroline started off by telling us that the idea of the book was conceived back in 2012, when Laurence King Publishing approached her to write the graphic design volume of the new ‘Visionaries’ series that they were commissioning, which also includes titles on fashion and photography – she clearly jumped at the idea, and rightly so. Caroline has also worked on various other books for Laurence King, including the most recent 50 Years of Illustration in collaboration with Professor Lawrence Zeegen. Graphic Design Visionaries is the first of her books where she is sole author.
“The first step (and arguably the most important part of the process) was to establish the list [of graphic designers], and this was carried out in conjunction with my editors at Laurence King Publishing (Sophie Dryden and Peter Jones) and their creative director Angus Hyland. The list didn’t really change much, except for a handful of people who decided they didn’t want to be involved. You’ll have to guess who they are from their absence…”
She mentioned that “limiting the numbers to just 75 designers was easily the hardest part of making the book, and inevitably there are some compromises that had to be made,” which is a feeling we know all too well, but this is what makes the book such an extraordinary collection of graphic designers who were ‘visionary’ and forward thinking.
We put Caroline on the spot and asked her if she had to choose one graphic designer who was the greatest visionary of all time, who would it be…she said it’d have to be Wim Crouwel, “I first met him in the mid 1990s through my friends at The Foundry, and my respect for him as a designer is immense. He continues to be a huge influence on subsequent generations, and his quote about being “an engineer troubled by aesthetics” perfectly sums up the tensions between the technical and aesthetic elements of his work.”
There are hundreds of fantastic images in this book from designers who are long gone, however their legacy lives on, and even more so now that this amazing book has been published. Sourcing images and acquiring image rights is a huge undertaking which was taken care of by specialist researchers in order to collate them all into this marvellously educational publication.